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ALL AFRICA GAMES TRIALS: OKAGBARE, OSAYOMI 16 OTHERS STORM CALABAR

By NBF News
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All Nigeria Open Track and Field Championship sprint champion, Blessing Okagbare, arrived the country at the weekend to defend the title she won last year. The University of Texas in El Paso general studies major, who arrived on Saturday came ahead of 17 others who trooped into Lagos enroute Calabar yesterday evening.

Interestingly, Blessing's greatest rival for the 100m title, Damola Osayomi has also arrived.

Speaking with reporters at Murtala Muhammed Airport last night, Okagbare, who came to receive her friends said her clash with Osayomi was not a do or die affair. 'Others were there before I became champion, so if I am beaten I will accept it as my fate,' observed the Olympic long jump bronze medallist.

She, however, admitted that she will not surrender her title without a fight.

'Actually, my target this season is to make the final of the World Championships in Daegue and finish in the top four. I also want to run sub 11second in the 100 and do a 7m in the long jump. Among those who came in with the Delta Airline from Atlanta include Ajoke Odumosu, Seun Adigun, Endurance Abinuwa, Jessica Ohanaja, Nurudeen Salim, Blessing Mayungbe, Bidemi Balogun, Grace Chinenkwere and Okwuwa Okolie.

Some of the new athletes in town to compete at the Calabar Championships include Gloria Asumu, Leslie Njoku, Stanley Azie and Okwuwa Okolie.

Also expected to hit town today include Peter Emelieze, Chizoba Okodogbe and Emmanuel Bamishe. Women high jump champion, Tosin Oke, Nigeria's triple jump champion is expected tomorrow.

Meanwhile, National record holder in the women's high jump at 1.95m, Doreen Amata, has arrived for the 65th All Nigeria Athletics Championships which starts on Thursday in the beautiful city of Calabar.

Amata relinquished her title last year to procreate but the reigning All Africa Games queen says she is in top shape to claim her fourth All Nigeria title.

'I am back to get the title I lost last year. I am in good shape and feels ready to clear a height high enough to win the title,' said the dark, tall and beatiful athlete who is a proud mother of a baby boy.

'I have cleared 1.90m this season and I believe a repeat of that height should be enough to win the title in Calabar. My fans should expect the best from me,' said the athlete who is ranked among the top 20 in he world so far this year.

Amata also revealed her sight is set firmly on improving on her Nigerian record at the championships which should prove compelling for IAAF Diamond League meeting organisers to give her a look-in.